Annabelle Tomei works to balance busy student athlete lifestyle


Maggie Willard

Annabelle Tomei gets ready to serve against Green Bay on Oct. 10.

Many know her as a setter for Oakland University’s volleyball team, holding a few records under her belt. However, there is more to Annabelle Tomei than just her volleyball skills and career.

Annabelle Tomei hit her 1,000th career assist on Sept. 10 in their game against the University of Pennsylvania. This made her the eighth player in OU’s volleyball program to achieve this record. During an interview with Tomei, she was asked about her achievement, and if she has any goals since accomplishing this feat.

“Hitting a thousand wasn’t something we were keeping track of — then it happened,” Tomei said. “It was amazing and I got to celebrate with the team. I don’t really have any strict goals, [but hitting] two thousand assists and a thousand digs would be my goals.”

OU volleyball is a Division I team. Being an athlete is immense work and pressure alone, then, you have to add classes and schoolwork to the training, travel and game schedule. How do they balance it all and manage their time? Tomei described her methods to maintaining balance and staying on track.

“I put sticky notes on my computer,” Tomei said. “I also have all of my assignments and deadlines on my computer somewhere. I try to get them done before a game or [turned] in after one.”

Tomei also gave advice to future student athletes who are looking to play in college.

“Talk to your teachers, introduce yourself,” Tomei said. “Explain that you are busier than their average student, but you will work hard to stick with their schedule and the syllabus.”

Picking a school to be an athlete at is just as important as maintaining balance once you get there. It’s not all about what division you are in, or going to a big name school. There are about 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States alone. How do you choose where to go? Tomei is originally from West Chicago, Illinois. So, what brought her five hours away from home?

Tomei explained she chose OU because “it was a family environment.” 

“They learned about me before I even came here, and took the time to get to know me,” she said. “Then I went and they offered.”

Tomei stands with her decision to pick OU to this day.

“I love how the staff and teammates are there even if I am not doing my best, I know I can fall back on them,” she said.

Tomei is a marketing major with a minor in finance. Her plans with her degree are not what you would expect with these qualifications. She does not plan to go into the business world or go a societal standard route with this degree. 

“I want to go to culinary school after I finish my degree,” she said. “I hope this degree will help me open my own restaurant one day in honor of my mom. I would use her homemade recipes in the restaurant. My parents are both Italian so that is the cuisine that I would have.”

As most people know, but tend to overlook or forget — athletes are more than just athletes. They are more than their skill and sport career, and Annabelle Tomei is just another example of that.